BY WAYLON GALVEZ
Nonito Donaire, a four-division world champion, has withdrew from his fight for the vacant WBC bantamweight title on December 19 after testing positive for the coronavirus or COVID-19.
The 38-year-old Fil-Am Donaire was supposed to face Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico in the Showtime main event set in Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Actually Rodriguez was not Donaire’s original opponent as he only replaced French Nordine Oubaali, who likewise tested positive for COVID-19 a month back.
The news was first reported by BoxingScene.com, which also mentioned that the fight might still happen with Rodriguez, who lost to the IBF bantamweight title last year to Japanese Naoya Inoue, possibly meeting another Filipino boxer in unbeaten Reymart Gaballo.
The 24-year-old Gaballo, who hails from Polomolok, South Cotabato, has 23 wins with 20 knockouts. His last win was against Chaiwat Buatkrathok of Thailand last December 12.
He was set to fight for the World Boxing Association interim bantamweight championship versus Jose Velasquez of Chile – supposed to be an undercard in the Donaire-Rodriguez match.
The fight could have been Donaire’s comeback fight following a setback to Naoya Inoue of Japan in the final of the World Boxing Super Series last year.
In that fight, Donaire came out with a gallant fight but the Japanese star proved to be too classy.